5 unsettling plane facts your pilot isn't telling you

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How to Learn to Fly a Plane

There are plenty of weird things that people are afraid of in this world -- whether you shudder at the sight of pigeons or you shut down when you're near chewing gum, there probably aren't too many people in your corner. But if you're afraid of flying, on the other hand, you're definitely not alone. In fact, one in three Americans is anxious about flying on planes.

And while that's not necessarily rational, considering you're more likely to die from a bee sting or a strike of lightning than in a commercial plane accident, there are plenty of airplane facts that contribute to this widespread cultural anxiety. In fact, we've compiled some unsettling facts about flying that you might not want to know if you're among the third of US citizens who are uncomfortable on a plane to begin with. Here are some facts that your pilot probably isn't relaying to you.

1. Lots of planes get struck by lightning:

Don't panic, though -- planes are built to take it. The scariest thing that you'll experience if lightning strikes while you're on board is probably just a bright flash and a loud boom. Experts estimate that each U.S. commercial fleet is struck by lightning at least once annually.

2. Afternoon flights are the worst for turbulence:

Because of the increased likelihood of a thunderstorm occurring as well as the bumpy afternoon air, the later the day gets, the more likely you are to hit turbulence. As the night cools off, the air in the late night and early morning becomes more level -- perfect timing for a nice snooze! Additionally, wind speeds are generally lower at these times, making for a smooth redeye.

Check out some of the most luxurious-looking first class seats:

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5 unsettling plane facts your pilot isn't telling you
In-flight refreshments are arranged in a first-class seat onboard a Boeing Co. B777-300ER aircraft operated by American Airlines Group Inc. at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. American Airlines in December will start daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, allowing Qantas Airways Ltd. at the same time to reopen a route from Sydney to San Francisco. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Passenger seating and a bed sit in the first class cabin of an Airbus A380-800 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on the opening day of the 14th Dubai Air Show at Dubai World Central (DWC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. The Dubai Air Show is the biggest aerospace event in the Middle East, Asia and Africa and runs Nov. 8 - 12. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An in-flight meal is arranged in a first-class seat onboard a Boeing Co. B777-300ER aircraft operated by American Airlines Group Inc. at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. American Airlines in December will start daily flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, allowing Qantas Airways Ltd. at the same time to reopen a route from Sydney to San Francisco. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A picture taken on June 16, 2015 during the International Paris Airshow at Le Bourget shows the first class area of a Qatar Airlines' A380. AFP PHOTO / /MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Akbar Al Baker, chief executive officer of Qatar Airways Ltd., left, and Timothy 'Tim' Clark, inspect the First Class bar area during a tour of an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on day two of the 51st International Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The 51st International Paris Air Show is the world's largest aviation and space industry exhibition and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 15 - 21. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
First Class passenger booths sit on the upper deck of an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on day two of the 51st International Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The 51st International Paris Air Show is the world's largest aviation and space industry exhibition and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 15 - 21. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Entertainment screens operate on first class cabin booths aboard an Airbus SAS A380 aircraft, operated by Qatar Airways Ltd., on the opening day of the 51st International Paris Air Show in Paris, France, on Monday, June 15, 2015. The 51st International Paris Air Show is the world's largest aviation and space industry exhibition and takes place at Le Bourget airport June 15 - 21. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Akbar Al Baker, center left, CEO of Qatar Airways, and Ray Conner, center right, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, take questions from reporters as they hold a press conference Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in the first class cabin of the 25th Boeing 787 airplane purchased by the airline, following a delivery ceremony in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Media members look over the first class section before delivery by Boeing of the first 747-8 Intercontinental Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Everett, Wash. Lufthansa is the launch customer for the Intercontinental and will start service with the airplane between Frankfurt, Germany and Washington, D.C. The 747-8 Intercontinental is a stretched, updated version of the iconic 747 and is expected to bring double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, and generate 30 percent less noise. Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental to a private customer in February, more than a year after originally planned. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Ray Conner, left, Boeing president and CEO of commercial airlines, explains the first class section as Walter Cho, Korean Air executive vice president and chief marketing officer, tries out reclining seat on a new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jet that Korean Air took delivery of Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in Everett, Wash. The jet is the first of 10 of the passenger airplanes the carrier has on order with Boeing. With the delivery, Korean Air becomes the first airline to operate both passenger and freighter versions of the 747-8. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
FILE - This file photo taken Sunday, May 4, 2014, shows the 125-square-foot (11.61-square-meter) area that includes a "living room" partitioned off from the first-class aisle, leather seating, a chilled mini-bar and a 32-inch flat-screen TV, at a training facility in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The area was created as a mock-up suite to be built in Etihad Airways airplanes. Abu Dhabi's national carrier, Etihad, showcased on Thursday, Dec. 18, the arrival of its first Airbus A380, outfitted with "the only three-room suite in the sky." (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
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3. There's something they fear much more than turbulence:

Turbulence is a common occurrence on flights -- pilots can plan for it, see when it's coming and simply get used to the idea that its presence almost never implies danger. That being said, an updraft is a completely different story. Not only can a flight team not necessarily detect an updraft on a nighttime radar, but hitting these violent winds at a plane's high speed can make for the plane being thrown up and down in the air quite roughly. This can damage the body of the plane and subsequently spin it out of control: "We avoid turbulence not because we're afraid the wing is going to fall off," says one pilot, "but because it's annoying."

4. Planes often carry just enough fuel to get through their scheduled trip:

Since carrying extra fuel may lead to an unnecessary waste of that resource, lots of major airlines play it safe and schedule their flights to fly without full tanks of gas. This is, of course, far from a death sentence, considering that planes can often land at an alternate airport if need be. That being said, it's not exactly comforting.

5. There's no such thing as a water landing:

You read that correctly -- the phrase 'water landing' is nothing more than a euphemism for crashing into the ocean. It can oftentimes be a controlled descent as opposed to a deadly crash, but there are generally no cases where a US plane has landed in or on the water if not for an emergency situation.

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